Heisman Presentation Takes National Stage.
This year the five candidates are Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson, Michigan junior linebacker and defensive back Jabrill Peppers, Oklahoma junior quarterback Baker Mayfield and senior wide receiver Dede Westbrook and Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson, who finished third in the Heisman vote last year to Derrick Henry of Alabama.
Jackson, a dual-threat playmaker who lifted his Cardinals squad to heights they haven't reached in a decade, has been labeled the favorite to win the award for the last two months of the college regular season. The 20-year-old completed 220-of-383 passes for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,538 yards for 21 touchdowns while carrying Louisville to a 9-3 record and a berth in the Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31.
Such dominance could put Jackson in contention to not only win the Heisman but challenge the voting record books. Former USC running back O.J. Simpson holds the record for most first-place votes for a Heisman winner (855), won back in 1968, while Ohio State quarterback and 2006 Heisman winner Troy Smith secured a record 91.63 percent of the vote.
But, the Cardinals' two late-season losses, as well as their narrow letdown against Clemson, could open the door for the four other candidates.
Mayfield threw for 3,669 yards, 38 touchdowns to eight interceptions for the nation's best passer efficiency rating of 197.8. He led Oklahoma to a 10-2 record, including 9-0 in a difficult Big 12 and a shot at the Sugar Bowl title.
Mayfield, though, did benefit greatly from the electric Westbrook. The Texas native made 74 receptions for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns, including eight 100-yard games and two of 200-plus yards. He finished tied for fourth in the country in receiving touchdowns and fifth in yardage, but a slow start 6 154 combined yards in the first three games, including only 51 against Ohio State 6 makes Westbrook the biggest dark horse in the Heisman field this year.
Peppers represents a sort of combination of the three preceding candidates. He helped the Wolverines nearly make the College Football Playoff while playing 15 different positions along head coach Jim Harbaugh's staunch defense, and is in play for a top-five selection in next year's NFL Draft. But it would be very surprising if Peppers becomes the first defensive player to take home the Heisman since Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997.
Watson's numbers weren't quite as impressive this season compared to his sophomore campaign, and he's also considered a long-shot despite helping Clemson return to the CFP for a second consecutive year.
The night will also include 50, 25, and 10-year Heisman anniversaries for three previous winners. Former Florida quarterback and head coach Steve Spurrier will be honored for his Heisman win 50 years ago in 1966, as well as Michigan wide receiver and current ESPN "College Game Day" analyst Desmond Howard for his victory in 1991, followed by Smith.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET and concludes in at 9 p.m. The winner will likely be announced at after 8:30 p.m. and will be followed by a speech.
Start Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: (http://www.espn.com/watchespn/#type/upcoming/) Watch ESPN
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|Publication:||International Business Times - US ed.|
|Date:||Dec 10, 2016|
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